Now, more than ever, people are realizing the importance of understanding autism. From 2000 to 2013, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children increased from one in 150 to one in 50. Given this upsurge, students and educators alike are becoming increasingly aware of the number of children who come to school each day with the variety of learning challenges associated with autism.
To stakeholders in the education and special needs industry, Autism Awareness Month provides an annual reminder of the work we should be doing all year long to support the learning needs of those with autism. For special education companies in particular, it may seem like a given to incorporate Autism Awareness Month in your April marketing and education PR plans – but how can you really make the most of this time to demonstrate why and how your company cares for students who have autism?
For Autism Awareness Month and beyond, focus on authenticity in your education PR and marketing strategies. Rather than simply saying that your company supports students with autism, show the ways that your company positively impacts the students and families who work through the challenges of autism each day. Here are a few more examples of how you can be authentic in your communication strategies.
Share resources that weren’t there before
One of our top performing blog posts was a 2014 style guide for writing about disabilities. Two years later, it was still among the most frequented pages on our website. We think the reason for its popularity was that there simply weren’t many resources about writing on disabilities available at that time.
The takeaway from this web traffic pattern is that there are still large knowledge gaps regarding autism. Your company can support students with autism by filling those gaps with helpful information and resources to share with school communities.
Remember the value of inclusion
Sesame Street recently made a huge media splash with the introduction of Julia, a new character with autism. The series introduced the character to give children with autism someone to identify with on the show. Similar to Sesame Street, your company can focus on acts of inclusion to empower students on the autism spectrum. For example, videos sharing stories of your product’s classroom success among learners with autism could help other students recognize and explore their own potential.
Show why you care
Rob Laffan, founder and CEO of TippyTalk, an AAC communication platform, has a daughter named Sadie who has nonverbal autism. TippyTalk openly communicates that the platform was designed to provide Sadie a way to better express herself.
Like Laffan, you can demonstrate authenticity by sharing the story of how your company came to be, and the impact you have made along the way. Instead of just saying your organization cares about students with autism, explain to your audience why you care.
As you move forward with communications and education PR activities during this Autism Awareness Month, look for ways to be genuine and make a positive impact for special education. With a mission to better the learning of students with autism, you’re already poised for positive visibility.
Want to learn more about developing bold and authentic communication strategies? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas about your next steps.